The final project for my FYS class was doing a service learning project with the Boy and Girls club of Westminster. I enjoyed doing this service learning project. It wasn’t like a lot of other service learning projects were people have to go clean the town or plant bushes in parks to help keep air clean. This was different. I got to work with young children and teach them about fairytales, which I enjoyed. I learned a lot and had to adapt to situations on the spot which was sometimes challenging.
Before each visit we had to make a lesson plan and get it approved and I think that this part worked very well. This was a way to keep me thinking and on task and organized. If I wasn’t forced to make a lesson plan and actually plan out what I was going to do for an hour with the children I probably wouldn’t have thought too much about what I was going to do until Friday the day I went. Now, after going to the club and teaching the children, I know why it was important to have a plan and I’m thankful we had to make them. I think working with the Boy and Girls club was a very creative and fun way to do a finial and I think that it was efficient.
Each time I went to the boys and girls club I learned something different. The first time my group went to the boys and girls club it didn’t really go as planned. Mary and Daniel warned us that the kids were going to have a very short attention span and they weren’t going to always pay attention but I didn’t think that it was going to be that bad. I was wrong. The first day my group read “Snow White” and we were going to talk about symbolism used in the story. We got a picture book to read to the kids because we thought that the picture would help keep the kids entertained and more interested in the story rather than just reading from the book we use in class. We also made little things for the kids to say whenever they head the Evil witches name and Snow White like booo and yaayy. We also brought apples and caramel for the kids for after the reading because all kids love snacks.
The sounds that the kids would make when they heard a name really worked and helped them pay attention but a lot of the time they would scream and be way too loud and distract other groups. The kids also all wanted to read from the book, which was something that I wasn’t expecting them to want to do. The kids kept running up to the book and trying to read and that was a little disruptive. Whenever we would say that they had a treat at the end they seemed to settle down so we said that a lot. From the first visit I learned that the kids really needed more things to do than just sitting and listening to us read to them. I also learned that bribing the kids with candy or a treat at the end was a good way to keep them focuses and on task.
The second visit went a little more smoothly. The second visit we read Cinderella and had the kids act out the story. This worked very well because the kids were interacting well with one another and loved the story “Cinderella”. The next week we did “Hansel and Gretel” and it went pretty well also. The last week was by far the best week of all though. We made props and had the kids make up their own ending to “The Golden Key”. The kids were very well behaved and had fun.
If I could go back I would, from the beginning, have activities that keep the kids interacted. I wouldn’t read to the kids more than five minutes at a time because their attention span isn’t that great and they zone off and talk amongst themselves. I learned that the kids love to draw so I would recommend to any other people that want to do this project to try to do drawing activities.
Throughout the Boys and Girls Club project I think that my team worked very well together. My group consisted of Me, Juliana Ottomano, and Mary Fabiszak. Even though Mary was not in class often she did make it to the boys and girls club every Friday and helped while we were there. If I could go back I think I would try to help Juliana more with making the crafts and snacks for the kids. Juliana is an art major she enjoyed doing all of the art and crafty stuff and I did help her but she had all the supplies and she liked doing it. Also sense she could go home easily she made some of the snacks at her house or had her mom make them, but I feel bad because she did all of that so if I could go back I would try to find more time to help her with those aspects.
Overall I think that this was way better than a final exam. It gave us real life situations that we have to learn to adapt to. When going to the Boys and Girls Club the kids didn’t always act perfect sometimes they misbehaved and didn’t listen. Us as the teachers couldn’t just give up and walk away when we became frustrated with the kids, we had to stay and work through the problems we were facing and had to change certain things in out lesson plan to gain the kids attention and control over the group. A final exam doesn’t have this quality to it. For a final students just study material they have learned over the semester and hope they remember it; if they don’t they don’t get a good grade and if they remember it they will get a good grade. It doesn’t have the creativity part or the quick thinking to unexpected events like this project did. This project also had a reflection, description and video part to it, so it included writing and analyzing just like a final exam would. Overall I think that as a student I got more out of this type of finial than a cumulative finial written on paper.